Thursday, July 30, 2009

Electric Cord Orchestra - You And Me  (Aerobic Music, 1985)

Doru Danciu, the orchestrator and conductor of this Romanian library record, had very high hopes for this particular collection of music. His dream, though he wouldn't admit it to anyone but his grandmother, was to have the songs included in the film Perfect, which was currently in production in Los Angeles. There were rumors filtering through the Iron Curtain that the movie was about an aerobics instructor, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and that most of it would take place in a swanky L.A. health club with John Travolta's sock-stuffed crotch doing a never-ending series of pelvic thrusts to a shiny dance beat. Doru's close friend Mihai, a Romanian Securitate agent with the inside scoop on everything censored from the West, revealed that eventually John and Jamie Lee would work up a sweat in the bedroom too. Doru wrote a song specifically for that plot development. He even added an invigorating Olympic Theme just in case one of characters reached the highest level of competitive aerobics at some point in the story. Basically he included everything a filmmaker could possibly need for a movie about aerobics, and he was convinced that the director, James Bridges, and the music supervisor, Becky Mancuso, would find his music just...perfect.   Upon completion, Doru FreighterExed a copy of the album to Columbia Studios, and then for five long months he and his grandma sat huddled together with their fingers crossed in the cramped offices of Electrecord Records.

One can only imagine Doru's shock and disappointment when his friend Mihai finally managed to smuggle a bootleg betamax copy of the finished movie back to Romania, and he watched John Travolta thrusting his pelvis to this!

As a footnote, the weirdest thing about this record is that smack-dab in the middle of all this aerobic "library" music is an utterly horrifying cover of "Who's Holding Donna Now" (please sign our release form before listening at your own risk). But still, what a wonderful surprise to run into the Debarge family deep within the stacks of the National Library in Bucharest!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Okay Temiz, widely recognized as the bee's knees of Turkish jazz percussionism (if that's even a word), teams up with his band Oriental Wind and the Karnataka College of Percussion from Bangalore, India to create a song that, if nothing else, is quite useful for frightening small children on Halloween.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Dimensions - Bio-Imagery Programming  (Figure Enhancement System, 1978)

The first 15 minutes of this recording is your average run-of-the-mill relaxation/deep-breathing borefest. But then all of the sudden and seemingly out of NOWHERE it takes a surprisingly creepy and humorous turn. I could hardly believe my ears! (Although I'm certainly not complaining now that I've got the biggest knockers west of the Ganges).

I must, I must, I must increase my bust!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Becky Mello - Kealakekua  (Becky, 1978)

"People often wonder how songs are written", Becky Mello said in 1978. "Perhaps energy writes songs. A combination of human, environmental, and cosmic energies zeroing-in on someone who acts merely as interpreter."

So she had the energy thing worked out -- she even made sure to give these "conglomerate energies" co-writing credit on each of her songs. Now all that was left to be resolved was which of these two glamour shots of Becky would go on the back of the record and which would go on the inner sleeve:


Becky battled with her promoters from RLM Records until the wee hours of the morning, and although the exact details of the numerous shady deals that went down are still a mystery, there was definitely some blackmail, intimidation, and a gift certificate to Kimo's Surf Shop involved. As the sun rose over Kailua Kona, they finally reached a consensus. Any guesses as to what was decided?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nothing soothes the soul quite like the sound of waves crashing on the muddy shores of Lake Balaton.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Identity crises abound on this Summer Special from '78, actually a collaboration between Bernard Torelli and his delightfully oenophilic half-brother, J.P. Massiera. With help from the mysterious "Funk Civa Band" and some minor input from Stevie Winwood.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Sung by Asha Bhosle, Amit Kumar & Chorus. Lyrics by Anjaan.

"Music is my life..."

"Please don't take my ipod away!"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The all but forgotten b-side for the "We Are The World" single was a mere afterthought, a last minute recording thrown together by the only D-list entertainers Quincy Jones could rustle up at 2 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon. The single was slated for worldwide release the very next morning so they had to get a move on. Quincy found three singers who had appeared on Star Search, a few subway performers, and a hairy-chested janitor who was wandering around the building in nothing but a vest. He gathered them all into the studio and, in order to quickly generate some lyrics, he asked them to each contribute one syllable.  So, the newly-formed supergroup went around in a circle taking turns, starting with the Star Search contestants and ending with the janitor.  "Do... it... for.... the...... chilled........ beer?"   Quincy paused and scratched his head. He would have to make a slight adjustment to the last syllable, but otherwise these lyrics would suffice. There wasn't much time for tinkering anyway.   By 3:30 the song was finished, the floor was mopped, and the entire crew was outta there. The next day, "We Are The World" became one of the fastest-selling singles of the modern pop era.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Meta Roos and Nippe Sylwéns Band must have been the hippest jazz outfit in all of Sweden back in 1978. And not just because of Meta's feathered bangs, which were considered cutting-edge fashion at the time. Or because of these highly-covetable headphones:

There's not a lot of information in English about Meta Roos, unfortunately. All I know is that many years later she would sing the theme song "A World Full Of Life" in the Swedish dubbed version of The Lion King, and provide the voice of the mother weasel in... well, some movie that has a mother weasel. One thing's for sure, though, she definitely never became a street walking woman. (...or did she?)

The mystery is still out on Nippe. Swedish translation sites seem to indicate that either the word nippe or sylwén means "jewelry", from which we can conclude only one of two things: that his ancestors were the makers of fine quality gemstone necklaces, or his parents were a tad kooky in choosing "Jewelry" as the first name for their baby boy. But we mustn't worry ourselves over these petty details when there is music to enjoy. For now let's venture back to 1978 for a cozy evening at the Gyllene Cirkeln jazz club in Stockholm...


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Selections from the early film scores of the reclusive and much under-appreciated composer, L. Florentine Zagalahuchi. Includes themes from such films as The Gold Letter Tower Of Flying Drama (1958), Twilly Blue (1971), Will Be Willing To Be Better Tomorrow (1982), Fat Upsurge IV (1969), and This Being Free, It Is Foppish! (1979). As far as the compilation, there's not a lot of info written on the back of the record, just that it was released by the Czech label Wiptoffa in 1987.